June 1st is the official start of hurricane season here in Hampton Roads. And, while we’ve had a wet Spring, as part of your preparation for emergency incidents it’s never a bad time to spend some time thinking about your evacuation plan.
If emergency officials order an evacuation of your area, you must be ready to leave immediately. Decide now where you would go, what you’ll need, and what route you’ll use.
Remember these 5 tips when it comes to planning:
- Leave Early – An evacuation will increase traffic on evacuation routes, and your trip will take longer than usual. Be prepared for delays. The sooner you leave, the sooner you will get to your destination and out of harm’s way. You will also spend less time in traffic.
- Stay Local – If you have nearby family or friends who live out of storm surge areas, ask if you can stay with them. If you can find a hotel or motel outside of a storm surge area, then you may be able to avoid traveling far inland. As a storm approaches, rooms will fill fast, so make plans to reserve a room early.
- Public Shelters Are A Last Resort – Take your emergency supply kit if you end up staying in one. Public shelters provide basic necessities such as food, water, and a small amount of space for your family to stay. Most shelters do not provide items like cots, bedding, infant supplies, or those with special medical needs. You should be prepared to provide these supplies for your family until help arrives.
- Listen for the Latest Information – Before, during, and after a disaster it is vital that you listen to local media for the most local, up-to-date information from emergency officials. Local media will broadcast critical instructions including evacuation orders for specific areas, details about evacuation routes, locations of evacuation shelters, how to stay safe, where to find assistance, and updated weather warnings and watches.
- Plan for Pets – The last thing you want is to have to leave your beloved pet behind due to poor foresight. Some shelters will only accept service animals indoors. Talk to your vet or local humane society in advance about an emergency plan for your pets. Also, have copies of your pets’ immunization records ready to go.
Remember, residents on higher ground do not need to evacuate to avoid storm surge. Mobile or manufactured homes and trailers are an exception. Lightweight structures are especially vulnerable to high winds.
Whether your plan is to go to a family or friend’s home, to a hotel or to a shelter, take your disaster supply kit with you. The kid should include essential supplies to support your family for at least three days, including a three day supply of special items (like medications), food that will not spoil, a battery-powered radio, water, flashlights, extra batteries, copies of important documents (like insurance policies and birth certificates), and sleeping bags or linens to make a bed at a shelter.
For more information about how to prepare your family for a disaster, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov.